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September 12th 2002 - O Globo, Brazil Print E-mail

It's the end of the road

Leader of Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, denies future of band and launches solo DVD

Life is calm in a part of southern England, in a village 80 kilometres from London. With his family, new-born daughter and surrounded by normal, human life, able to walk down the street without being bothered, David Gilmour seems to be speeding up a decision that he has delayed for some time.

"I do not think about Pink Floyd, only about the DVD and the CD that I intend to launch next year." Is it the end of the band? "Probably" affirms the leader of the group, 56, in a telephone interview to O Globo from some part of England that he refuses to disclose. "I don't want my hiding place to become public. I took long enough finding this place, I wouldn't like to see its name published in a periodical, even a Brazilian periodical, miles away."

One of the few great progressive rock bands still active in the '90s, Pink Floyd, established in 1965, has disappeared since 1995. Not only because Nick Mason, Richard Wright and Gilmour have taken different routes from the dated art-rock of the group, but also because of their assumed lack of pleasure in carrying out huge tours. Following in the steps of his former band, then, is Roger Waters. He was smart: taking on the responsibility for performing the music of Pink Floyd for them, an initiative that brought him to Brazil last year, where he received applause that his solo career, and less well-known songs, has never known.

"My solo work is a more easy process." Gilmour explains, dispelling any rumours about misunderstandings with some members of the band. "With the Pink Floyd, it takes two years of hard work to record an album. Now I just want to spend time with my family. I do not find it viable to work with the Pink Floyd. I simply haven't seen Nick and Richard. But I know... Who knows what the future holds?"

DVD was recorded in June

Gilmour won't go on the road as voraciously as one might think. The DVD 'Gilmour in Concert' (EMI), recorded at the Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in June last year - expected to be released in Brazil next month - gave the guitarist a lot of energy. He will give some interviews to newspapers, radio and TV stations, and then return to peaceful existence in said village.

He'll only return to the stage next year when he guarantees a mini-tour of Europe. "Nothing ambitious, just 12 shows." The project now is a solo CD with unknown songs. It will be his third. The other two are David Gilmour (1978) and About Face (1984). After that, as front-man, he momentarily launched Pink Floyd with A Momentary Lapse Of Reason (1987), A Delicate Sound Of Thunder (1988, a live album), The Division Bell (1994) and Pulse (1995, another live one), all successful albums.

"We did what we had to do" Gilmour says, changing the subject.

To disassociate himself from the grandeous rock of Pink Floyd, Gilmour chose the Royal Festival Hall and an essentially acoustic set. He forgot to be lead guitarist, playing only an acoustic.

"My ears are fond of calmness. This is strong in my music. I decided to be more acoustic and less electric."

Gilmour was accompanied by Dick Parry (sax, who played with Pink Floyd on 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'), Neill MacColl (guitar), Chucho Merchan (bass), Michael Kamen (piano), Caroline Dale (cello) and Sam Brown (the leader of a choir of eight). In some versions of songs from the Floyd repertoire, such as 'Wish You Were Here' and 'Comfortably Numb', the format sounds quite different from the originals, almost a reinvention.

"I took Pink Floyd songs and disassembled them to see if they could function with the instruments that I chose for the venue. Then I also changed the style." Gilmour explains that it was important for him to play at least one song of Syd Barrett's, the founding guitarist of Pink Floyd, whom he replaced. "The majority of his songs are very, very personal. There's not much one can do with them, like 'Dominoes', which became quite jazzy."

Gilmour admits that he doesn't listen to much rock. His influences comes from classical music, folk and jazz. "Now and again I risk listening to new rock bands. This generally happens when I go to London. I flick through radio stations to get a taste for some, but I buy few rock records."

His wife writes on the album

Gilmour chose 15 songs for the DVD, some unknown ones like 'Smile' the lyricist of which is his wife, Polly Samson, with whom he has four children. The other four are from his first marriage. Polly is the journalist who wrote some lyrics for The Division Bell, tenderly rewriting Gilmour's history, restoring his faith in love. She is the DVD's film director.

"Polly wrote words which I liked for my music" he says affectionately.

It features three bands recorded in different places: 'I Put A Spell On You' from Jools Holland's TV programme; 'Don't', originally sung by Elvis Presley, from a charity concert in 2001; and Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 18' with Michael Kamen. Although reserved, Gilmour opens up intimately in the video. Working on finalising the DVD's sound in the studio, he watches his children playing in the garden. This is all we are allowed.

Finally, I ask the question that is always asked, although this time it is to a single person: What about Brazil? Will you come next time?

"I don't know exactly why Pink Floyd never went to Brazil. I would very much like to..."

 
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